Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, May 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM
No Game Sevens this time around…as the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder all advanced through the second round in six games or less. That means we have to spend some time Friday and Saturday preparing for the handicapping challenges that await in the Eastern and Western Conference finals.
I’m not going to tell you here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping who I’ll be selecting in each series or in the openers. That information is for my paying clients. I will tell you what I believe the keys are for do-it-yourselfers who want to win money in these particular matchups.
*First, ignore the regular season!
Yes Oklahoma City owned the Spurs in the regular season. That doesn’t matter now. Even if they DO own them and advance to the finals, it will be for different reasons. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich paces himself through the regular season…with an emphasis on staying healthy and getting as high a seed as possible. He managed that perfectly because the team earned the #1 seed. Tony Parker is dealing with what’s reportedly a minor hamstring issue. That’s it for injuries. We’re about to see the very best the Spurs have to offer. It’s going to be chess at full speed. Handicap what’s happening now without worrying about what happened months ago in lower priority settings.
Same story for Miami and Indiana. The Pacers are nowhere near their regular season peak any more, but have also bounced up off their worst levels of play. Plus, Miami tends to coast in the regular season anyway. Remember all the media buzz about Brooklyn going 4-0 vs. Miami in the regular season? Didn’t mean a thing!
*Second, focus on PLAYMAKERS, GAMEBREAKERS, and I’ll add in DIFFERENCE-MAKERS off the bench.
These teams are loaded with talent, but it’s different kinds of talent.
San Antonio: Brains, experience, shotmaking, and depth
Miami: The greatest player ever, more brains than given credit for
Oklahoma City: Athleticism, aggression, and an incredibly pure shooter in Durant
Indiana: Defense, and maybe they found the chip on their shoulder that comes from being an underdog
Within all that, winning and losing is going to come down to who makes shots when the game is on the line…and who off the BENCH can make shots if the starters are cancelling each other out. Stay focused on the basic principles of what wins or loses playoff games.
*Third, monitor fatigue and the general grind of a series to see who’s best able to perform in later action.
Washington hit a wall relatively early in Game Six this past Thursday Night. The LA Clippers hit their wall in the fourth quarter of Game Six a couple of hours later. Those teams just couldn’t execute any more. You could see it possession-by-possession. The body couldn’t do what the spirit wanted. Conference championships usually turn into wars of attrition. Picking winners in games 4-5-6-7 will involve recognizing who’s fadinig and who isn’t.
I’m very much looking forward to both of these matchups. KELSO STURGEON is at his best when PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS are deciding who wins and loses. You’ve seen that in all sports over the years…and particularly in recent major events. When the best play the best…I’ve always been the best and picking winners!
You can always purchase my top plays in both baseball AND basketball right here at this very website with your major credit card. If you have any questions about packages that take you through the rest of the NBA Playoffs or to baseball’s All-Star Break, talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155. Don’t forget that the PREAKNESS goes Saturday. Be sure to check on any information I may have for you there.
Back with you again early next week. That will very likely be a baseball report because the Western finals don’t even begin until Monday Night. Not much to read-and-react to between the first championship tip and our next get-together. I imagine our next basketball course work will be a week from today when we’ll take stock of what’s happened thus far in these two marquee matchups.
Thanks again for your attention, and all the hard work you’ve been doing for weeks and months (and YEARS for some of you longtime loyalists). The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your passion for Las Vegas sports betting. See you again next week.